Global Resources and Leadership Development in ESP: Use Technology Creatively!

Hello ESPers worldwide!

In Japan, it really feels like spring is here.  The weather is warm, the trees are green, and the birds outside my window are . . . My apologies for getting off track.  It’s just the effect of spring (smile).

I wanted to get you all thinking about using technology creatively to meet the needs of your students.  In addition, please remember that as technology changes, so can your programs.

For example, one program that a team at Sony created (many, many years ago) used fax machines and a textbook to conduct a business correspondence course to meet learner needs.  That was when the fax was popular, of course!

At Kanda Gaigo Career College in Tokyo, I later created P-Mail, which was E-mail for pharmaceutical company employees in an ESP course.   Why did I create P-mail?  In Tokyo, the competition among language training providers was fierce, so I was seeking to customize and personalize a course during the time that E-mail was popular.   P-mail was used to supplement the training provided on site and to cover topics at a deeper level.   The students had to respond to each P-mail before their next weekly class meeting and received feedback by E-mail as well.

As a teacher trainer, I also created T-mail.   In the corporate service division of the career college, there were 100-200 trainers working with various corporate clients each month.  Most of these trainers were working on a project basis, so I was looking for a way to create a community and provide weekly training.  A T-mail consisted of several sections such as a motivational note, company information, business vocabulary, a cultural item, a teaching tip, and an administrative item.   These T-mail later evolved to focus on specific types of training for teachers, including T-mail programs focused on customer service and global issues respectively.

More recently, I have been experimenting with Google Groups due to the success that the ESP IS had with the TESOL ESP IS Community Discussions 2011-2012.   I am focusing on leadership development online, and what I am doing is not specifically “principled ESP” (because the English communication needs of the learners are not immediate), but I can definitely imagine how Community discussions could be an important part of an ESP program, especially when we communicate online in writing with others around the world.

So, I would encourage you all to enjoy the warm weather . . . I mean, please enjoy experimenting with the technology to meet the needs of your learners.

I’ll see you next week!

About Kevin Knight

Kevin Knight
Kevin Knight (PhD in Linguistics, MBA, MPIA) is an associate professor in the Department of International Communication (International Business Career major) and has also been working in the Career Education Center of Kanda University of International Studies in Chiba, Japan. In the TESOL ESP Interest Section (ESPIS), he has served as chair and English in occupational settings (EOS) representative, and he is currently the ESPIS community manager. He was also a member of the Governance Review Task Force (GRTF) appointed by the board of directors. In addition, he has been a TESOL blogger in the area of English for Specific Purposes (ESP). He has more than 30 years of professional experience working for private, public, and academic sector institutions including Sony and the Japan Patent Office. His doctoral research on leadership communication (i.e., discourse) as a basis for leadership development was under the supervision of Emeritus Professor Christopher Candlin and Dr. Alan Jones.
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